On a bright sunny morning, fourteen Polyramblers met up at Rickmansworth railway station. Following the mandatory safety briefing, the group walked round Batchworth and Bury lakes to cross the Grand Union Canal at Stockers Lock for Stockers Farm. This is where not only Black Beauty the ITV series of the early seventies was filmed but bits of Midsomer Murders, Withnail and I, Bridget Jones The Edge Of Reason, etc, as the leader then did not know.
Up and down the first of the promised gentle ascents and descents, the group made its way to the outskirts of Harefield, where an enterprising resident had just opened her garden as a teashop also selling icecreams, which a handful of members could not resist. Others were concerned it might spoil their lunch, unsuspecting that that would be another two hours off!
Over several stiles, past a desolate U.S. army truck and an apparently abandoned Chinese (?) taxi (?) or police car (?), we crossed Woodcock Hill and ambled on through Bishop’s Wood Country Park. From there we headed down to French Grove, where the more intrepid traversed a field with horses while the rest were led around it.
We crossed Ducks Hill Road into Copse Wood and reached eventually, at last, the covid-secure lunch spot of spaced-apart logs, which allowed social distancing.
Afterwards we skirted Ruislip Lido and Northwood golf course to reach Northwood itself and after some pavement plodding a footpath to Batchworth Heath. Here we entered Moor Park golf course and proceeded to cross it, witnessing some truly abysmal golf shots on the way.
Now in Batchworth proper, we made our way mostly in the shade of trees through Ricky back to the start, having covered the 11.5 miles (other estimates are available) at 2mph, somewhat short of the British Standard’s and the club’s standard 2.5mph [not sure the Club’s standard is that fast!-Ed]. The unseasonably warm weather didn’t help. On the other hand, the going was very firm and fast.
Andrew King (Photos by Ida)